Hormone therapy raises cancer risk

Jan 16, 2008

Menopausal women who take hormone combinations for their symptoms are more likely to get an uncommon type of breast cancer much earlier than experts believed.

The new findings, released Monday by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, link lobular breast cancer to combination hormonal therapy used to combat hot flashes, night sweats and other symptoms of menopause, The Seattle Times reported Tuesday.

Lobular breast cancer is uncommon but particularly elusive because the cancer doesn't form lumps in the breast.

Most researchers have assumed it takes five years of combined-hormone therapy before the overall risk of developing breast cancer is elevated significantly. But the new study found women who took estrogen and progestin every day for as few as three years were about three times more likely to develop lobular breast cancer than those who had never taken hormones.

Dr. Nancy Tipton, a gynecologist with Virginia Mason Medical Center, said the study shouldn't change anything for patients who take the lowest possible doses for the shortest possible time.

"Nothing is risk-free. A lot of women really need combination hormones for a while because they're miserable," said Tipton, who estimated that a quarter of her menopausal patients need estrogen-progestin to control their symptoms.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Explore further: Funding to investigate an alternative to chemotherapy

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Gene test aids cancer profile

2 hours ago

The first round of chemotherapy did little to suppress Ron Bose's leukemia. The second round, with 10 times the dose, knocked the proliferating blast cells down, but only by half.

Hospital volume not linked to costs of cancer surgery

17 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Hospital surgical volume does not appear to correlate with Medicare payments for cancer surgery, according to research published online Nov. 24 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

How a common antacid could lead to cheaper anti-cancer drugs

19 hours ago

A popular indigestion medication can increase survival in colorectal cancer, according to research published in ecancermedicalscience. But in fact, scientists have studied this for years - and a group of cancer advocates want t ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.